It's All My Fault: I Provoked Him

Uploaded 9/27/2011, approx. 3 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

How often have you heard the following phrases coupled with most horrific, physical, verbal, and psychological abuse?

It's only your fault. You made me do it.

Or, look what you made me do.

Abusers have alloplastic defenses and external locus of control.

Related into proper English, this means that they tend to blame others for their misfortunes, mistakes, and misconduct.

Abusers believe that the world is a hostile place out to get them, and that there is little they can do to mitigate and ameliorate their failures and defeats.

Their acts and choices are brought on by other people's malevolence, negligence, and stupidity.

Abusers regard themselves, therefore, as eternal victims.

The problem starts when the true victims, often the abusers' so-called nearest and dearest, adopt the abusers' point of view and begin to feel guilty and responsible for the abusers' reprehensible behaviors.

This folie deux, laterally in French, madness into some. This shared psychosis is very common.

Victims and abusers form symbolic diets, they abrogate reality, they give up on it, and they share the same delusions.

The abuser and his victim allocate roles. The victim triggers the abuse and deserves it. The abuser is merely a hapless tool devoid of volition and with an absent impulse control.

But why would anyone succumb to such a patently fallacious view of the world? Why would anyone, any victim, assume the guilt for her own torture and maltreatment?

Shared psychosis is a complex phenomenon with numerous psychodynamic roots.

Some victims fear abandonment and would do anything to placate their abusive intimate partners. Other victims grew up in dysfunctional families and they are familiar and comfortable with abuse. Abuse is their comfort zone.

Some victims are simply masochistic. They like the pain inflicted on them. Other victims want to make the relationship work at any cost to themselves.

Fear plays a big part too. Sometimes the only way not to provoke another onslaught of abuse is by playing by the abuser's rules.

So what can you do about it?

Start by realizing a few crucial facts.

And these are facts supported by reams of research and mountain ranges of court decisions.

The victim, not the perpetrator. These should be your mantras.

Your abuser does not love you.

Abuse and love are antonyms. Abuse is never a form of expressing love.

Next, try to figure out why you have acquiesced to your abuser's behavior. Are you anxious that he may abandon you if you stand up for yourself? Are you scared that the abuse may escalate if you resist him? Do you feel helpless? Have you always felt helpless? Or is this learned helplessness encouraged by the abuser in medications?

Are you truly alone? Or do you have supportive friends and family? What about the authorities? Do you trust them to protect you? And if not, why not do you have a bad experience with them?

Analyze a relationship. Can you reframe your roles? Are you sufficiently strong to put a stop to the abuse by opposing conditions, imposing sanctions and acting on infringements?

Is couple therapy an option?

If you have answered no to any of these three questions, you are better off without your abuser.

Start looking for a way out. Plan the getaway in detail. Share your intentions with friends, family and trusted co-workers. Then act on your plan.

Remember, the world never comes to an end when relationships do.

But abuse can, very often does, become deadly.

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Coping Styles: Narcissist Abuses "Loved" Ones Despite Abandonment Anxiety

Narcissists abuse their loved ones to decrease their abandonment anxiety, restore their sense of grandiosity, and test their partner's loyalty. Abuse also serves as a form of behavior modification, as it signals to the partner that they need to modify their behavior to avoid abuse. Coping styles for dealing with abuse include submissiveness, conflicting, mirroring, collusion, and displacement, but some of these styles can be harmful and should be avoided.

Narcissist's Reactions to Abandonment, Separation, and Divorce

Narcissistic abusers often resort to self-delusion when faced with the dissolution of a meaningful relationship. They may adopt a masochistic avoidance solution, punishing themselves for their failure, or construct a delusional narrative in which they are the hero. Some may become antisocial psychopaths, while others develop persecutory delusions and withdraw completely from social contact, becoming schizoids. Finally, some abusers resort to an aggressive stance, becoming verbally, psychologically, and sometimes physically abusive towards loved ones.

Body Language of Narcissistic and Psychopathic Abuser

Abusers emit subtle signals in their body language that can be observed and discerned. They adopt a posture of superiority and entitlement, and they idealize or devalue their interlocutors. Abusers are shallow and prefer show-off to substance, and they are serious about themselves. They lack empathy, are sadistic, and have inappropriate affect. They are adept at casting a veil of secrecy over their dysfunction and misbehavior, and they succeed in deceiving the entire world.

Abuse By Proxy

Abusers often use third parties to control, coerce, threaten, stalk, tempt, seduce, harass, communicate, or manipulate their targets. They use the same mechanisms and devices to control these unaware instruments as they plan to control their ultimate prey. The abuser perverts the system, and therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and judges end up upholding the abuser's version and helping him further abuse his victims. The victim's children are the abuser's greatest source of leverage over his abused spouse or mate.

Spot a Narcissist or a Psychopath on Your First Date

There are warning signs to identify abusers and narcissists early on in a relationship. One of the first signs is the abuser's tendency to blame others for their mistakes and failures. Other signs include hypersensitivity, eagerness to commit, controlling behavior, patronizing and condescending manner, and devaluing the partner. Abusers may also idealize their partner, have sadistic sexual fantasies, and switch between abusive and loving behavior. Paying attention to body language can also reveal warning signs.

Abuser-Victim Bond: Emotional Processing and Object Inconstancy

Victims of narcissistic abuse keep falling for it because they are the spitting image of their abusers in terms of psychodynamic processes. Victims and abusers have unusual ways of processing information, and they share impaired object constancy. Victims and abusers bond via their resonating pathologies, and this bonding is an addiction. Abusers and victims fulfill each other's voids, and traumatic bonding is extremely difficult to break.

Abuse Victim as Hostage: Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonding

Abusive relationships require two people to sustain, and the abuser and the abused form a bond and dependence. Society often refuses to tackle this phenomenon, and people, mostly women, remain in abusive households for various reasons. The abuser treats their spouse as an object, devoid of a separate existence and denuded of distinct needs, preferences, wishes, and priorities. The abuser exploits the vulnerabilities in the psychological make-up of their victim, and abusive behavior often indicates serious underlying psychopathologies.

Abuse Victims Fear Holidays, Birthdays

Holidays can be a nightmare for victims of family violence and abuse, especially when the offender has narcissistic or antisocial psychopathic personality disorders. Holidays provoke a particularly virulent strain of pathological envy in abusers with these disorders. The narcissistic and psychopathic abuser feels deprived and wants to spoil the party for everyone else. It is important to set boundaries and punish misbehavior and maltreatment.

System Re-victimizes, Pathologizes Victim, Sides with Offender, Abuser

The system, including academic institutions, law enforcement agencies, and the courts, often fails to take victims of abuse seriously and instead pathologizes and diminishes them. This is due to a lack of education and awareness about abuse and domestic violence. Abusers are often possessive, jealous, dependent, and narcissistic, while victims may blame themselves or have a history of abuse. Mental health professionals may also be biased towards the abuser and pathologize the victim, making it difficult for victims to receive proper help. Victims may need to stage a well-calibrated performance to convince therapists that they are victims and not be re-victimized by the system.

Narcissistic Abuser Cons System

Abusers are often able to deceive mental health and social welfare workers, even when the diagnosis is unequivocal. There are four types of mental health and law enforcement professionals and practitioners who can be co-opted by abusers: adulators, ignorant professionals, self-deceivers, and those who are actively deceived. Mental health professionals are often egocentric and emotionally invested in their opinions, and they may pathologize the behavior of victims who disagree with them. Victims of abuse may need to stage a well-calibrated performance to convince therapists that they are the victim.

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